You know that cute little heart sign Gareth Bale makes every time he scores a goal?
It’s about to get him paid.
Bale has filed an application with the UK Intellectual Property Office to trademark a logo that depicts a set of hands making a heart gesture with the number 11 inside of it. If the Welshman successfully trademarks the logo he could stand to make upwards of £3 million a year.
By applying for the trademark Bale aims to join the elite ranks of other high-profile athletes who have entered the merchandise world with lucrative brand licensing deals. Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and David Beckham have all trademarked their own logos, which are stylistically quite different from Bale’s design. Woods and Federer each utilize logos monograms of their initials while Beckham’s logo is a stylised representation of himself during the run of play.
Bale’s decision to seek trademark of a logo that is not a distinctive monogram or stylized logo could prompt the IPO office to request that he re-work the image to achieve registration. Regardless, Bale’s registration of the logo feels like an inevitability and when it finally does pass muster at the IPO office, the Spurs winger will be in line for a hefty payoff.
“The possibilities are huge for Gareth Bale,” said Nigel Currie, director of sports marketing agency brandRapport. “Once he has that right he can cash in on it and become a more well-known player. A third of his overall income could be made from his image rights, potentially up to £3 million [$4.7m] a year.”
The goal celebration gesture, known as the ‘Eleven of Hearts,’ was first flashed by Bale in 2010 as a dedication to childhood sweetheart Emma Rhys-Jones. Now Bale is looking to make big business out of the profession of his love putting the logo on headgear, footwear, jewelry, clothing, travelling bags and umbrellas.
The money-making theory behind the trademark is relatively simple. Millions of people across the globe already readily identify the hand gesture with Bale. By incorporating the logo on different products and continuing to flash the sign every time he scores, the logo becomes more and more recognizable as a brand, making people more likely to consume to consume his products.
But who will purchase these products with the ‘Eleven of Hearts’ brand?
Bale lovers? Probably.
Spurs fans? Possibly.
Random football fans? Ehh, probably not.
So while Tottenham is a club with global recognition, there’s little denying that Bale’s current market reach is somewhat limited. And while all of us would be more than happy with the ‘limited market’ of £3 million ($4.7m) a year, it’s hard not to wonder how big his earning potential could be at a global powerhouse like Real Madrid.